The first time I attended DragonCon, I was but a wee thing.

2010 was the first time I really got to experience the Con for what it is. That year, almost last minute, me and a really good friend of mine decided that we were going to go to Dragon*Con. (Back when it still had the asterisk in the name.) Dragon*Con was, and is, the kind of experience where if you don’t grab a nearby hotel within the first few months, you aren’t going to get a room close by. We learn that right away. Our hotel was at the Hilton Atlanta Airport. Granted, it was awesome, we wouldn’t know what we were missing until many years later. But, deciding that we didn’t want to go alone, we invited two guys we worked with, and a good friend of his. Little did I know that this would be the first time meeting some of the best friends I would ever have — this is even true later, as well.

We drove out, got our hotel, and grabbed a Marta (Atlanta’s subway, essentially) out to the downtown area. There, we waited in line for two hours for a badge! It wasn’t as streamlined back then, but the experience was incredible. We played Marco Polo with a bunch of strangers in a line that went on forever.

These days, remembering everything that happened that one particular year kind of runs it all together. I remember one of the guys slept on the floor. With there being five of us in a room, I’m not sure where everyone slept, but the mornings after weren’t very kind to us.

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The nights at Dragon*Con are a different beast, altogether, and I had never attended what was colloquially called “Dragon After Dark.” It was the first year, and probably the best (maybe second best) year I attended the Last Party on Alderaan. It looked like this:

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I don’t think any of us had anything to drink that year; it was pure, unadulterated, nerd fun, and I’ll remember it forever. This was also the first year I wore a Mandalorian costume — but it was so bad. I’ll finish this article with a photo of all of us, including me in my armor. Ironically, it was also my first real entanglement with the Mandalorian Mercs Costume Club, which became an important staple in my life for many years to come.

Unfortunately, not all of the friendships at that con held out. Later on down the line, two of my friends would later just sort of… fall away. One, I’ve yet to determined why he disappeared, and the other, we keep trying to reconcile. I’d love to have them both back, and things be like it was then.

Good times.

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Featured image courtesy of Spartanphoenix, here on WordPress.

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